Armenian MPs in the Turkish parliament assessed April 24 mass held in the Patriarchate and President Erdoğan's letter of condolence.
AKP İstanbul MP Markar Esayan, CHP Istanbul MP Selina Doğan and HDP Istanbul MP Garo Paylan attended the April 24 mass that was held in Kumkapı Surp Asdvadzadzin Church.
After the mass, they spoke to Agos about 101st anniversary of the genocide.
“People were restrained from going to church”CHP Istanbul MP Selina Doğan
Unfortunately, our situation was way better 2 years ago. Currently, Turkey became politically polarized and threatened by the terrorist organizations. And today, there was another obstacle; as our Vicar Patriarchate Ateşyan pointed out, the roads were blocked because of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. Thus, people were restrained from going to church. This is indeed noteworthy. We feel sorry; there should be more people here in such a day. Of course, Turkey is not able to recognize even the recent history, let alone recognizing what happened 101 years ago. There is no freedom of expression and thought. President sent a letter here and I approve it. Our wish is to continue living in this country in a friendly and peaceful atmosphere without prejudices and to recognize the sufferings. Our wish is to deal with this issue in the parliament in a more humane, wise and conscientious way.
“Will to recognize is put away”HDP Istanbul MP Garo Paylan
It is important that this commemoration mass is held for the second time. However, last year, a minister and MPs attended the ceremony. It was a more important event, since there was a will to recognize. A condolence was offered. And this year, we saw that everything came to nothing. Frankly, we saw that the will to recognize is put away. There is a government that ignores this place and the roads were blocked because of the cycling tour. Last year, the presidency held another ceremony in Çanakkale. They probably realized that it was nonsense and they didn't do it this year. However, they organized a cycling tour instead. Armenians constituted the one fifth of the population; this means that every fifth person was Armenian and every fifth person was killed... We are turned into a minority group and this enables the presidency to organize a cycling tour on this very day. If this day becomes an important day for Turkey, it would mean that we recognized this issue.
“The letter of condolence is an important chance for the transformation in the society”AKP Istanbul MP Markar Esayan
On the 99th anniversary, there was a ceremony here. I attended all the ceremonies. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was the prime minister at that time, released the first letter of condolence that year. It was an important, historical breakthrough. Today's letter is also like that. On the 99th anniversary, a religious ceremony for commemorating our ancestors who died on April 24, 1915 was held for the first time. We did this legally, with the permission and encouragement of the state. I think that this is an important opportunity for Armenians to complete their mourning process and for the relations between Armenians and Turks, between Turkey and Armenia and between Turkey and the Diaspora. I think that the letter of condolence is an important chance for the transformation here, in the society. I hope that people give a chance for breaking down the prejudices between societies and states. I feel hopeful.”